HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Saifai glitz, foreign junket may haunt Samajwadi Party for long

Umesh Raghuvanshi, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, January 09, 2014
First Published: 01:01 IST(9/1/2014) | Last Updated: 01:03 IST(9/1/2014)

The Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh is drawing flak for sending a high-level delegation on a five-nation tour and concentrating more on Saifai Mahotsav than attending to Muzaffarnagar riot victims.

Questions are also being raised on the ‘violation of parliamentary procedures’ in finalising the delegation.

“BJP members were included in the delegation without consulting us. The tour is ill-timed...when there are so many issues facing the state,” said BJP leader Hukum Singh.

Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey, however, said the executive committee of the UP chapter of Commonwealth parliamentary association had selected the members. “We have sent the delegation to learn parliamentary practices in Commonwealth countries and all the political parties were consulted,” he said.

The delegation is led by parliamentary affairs and urban development minister Mohammad Azam Khan.

Interestingly, such visits were started by the BJP. “Such visits were started in the late 1990s when I was the Speaker. But these visits were not supposed to be junkets. Legislators are charged a part of the expenditure while the remaining sum is met by the legislature and the state government,” said senior BJP leader and former Speaker Keshrinath Tripathi.

Saifai grandeur
The last day of the event saw performances by actors Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan amidst cheering crowds. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and wife Dimple were also present.

Interestingly, in an apparent bid to avoid drawing further ire, recording or telecast of the Mahotsav was not allowed.

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